CLEVELAND – In a game crucial to the University Athletic Association standings, the Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team fell to No. 18 nationally ranked Emory University, 71-65, in front of a rowdy home crowd on the opening night of the school's 10th Annual Throwback Weekend at Adelbert Gymnasium.
The defeat knocks the Spartans (15-8, 6-6 UAA) two games back of the first-place Eagles (19-5, 8-4 UAA) with just two games remaining in the regular season.
For CWRU, senior forward Dane McLoughlin (Westerville, Ohio/St. Charles Prepatory) tied a game high with 20 points on 5-of-8 shooting from three-point range. Senior center Connor Edel (Akron, Ohio/Revere) and freshman forward Eric Black (Avon Lake, Ohio/Saint Ignatius) recorded eight points and seven rebounds and seven points and seven rebounds, respectively.
Emory's Alex Foster matched the game high with 20 points and grabbed five rebounds. Michael Florin added 17 points.
The visiting Eagles raced out to a 16-8 lead in the opening eight minutes of the first half, but the Spartans quickly narrowed the gap with a 7-0 run that featured five points from junior guard Matt Clark (St. Louis, Mo./St. Louis University).
Five minutes later, the Emory lead was back up to seven as Austin Dague hit two free throws to make the score 22-15. The Spartans then rallied twice and eventually tied the score for the first time as a three-pointer by McLoughlin and a three-point-play by Black brought the score to 30-30 with 2:50 on the clock. From there, Emory got six points from Florin to lead 36-32 at the break.
The Spartans stayed close early in the second half, never trailing by more than six points. A dunk by Black cut the Eagles' lead to 49-47 with 12:54 to play, and the home team took its first lead of the night when McLoughlin hit a triple from the right wing for a 56-54 advantage at the 6:59 mark.
Back-and-forth play followed before Foster broke a tie with a three-pointer to give the visitors a 65-62 lead with 39.4 seconds left in the game. CWRU junior forward Spencer Boyd (Akron, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) split a pair of free throws on the home end to cut the Spartan deficit to two at 65-63. The Eagles then missed the back end of a 1-and-1 on the ensuing possession, but Will Trawick was able to track down the loose ball and can both free throws with 22 seconds left on the clock.
The Spartans conclude their weekend against the University of Rochester (N.Y.) this Sunday, February 22 at 12:00 p.m. at Adelbert Gymnasium. The team will wear Case Institute of Technology Rough Riders uniforms after sporting Western Reserve University Red Cats uniforms tonight.